At Wholebeing Institute, there are two phrases that get a lot of attention:
Permission to Be Human
Permission to Be Magnificent
When these two teachings took off in the Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology course, I came up with a third teaching which I felt tied a lovely bow around the first two, completing the package:
Permission to Be
I love this phrase and have used it for years. I know in my gut that Permission to Be is just as important as the other two phrases, as a response to our culture’s frenetic emphasis on doing, achieving, success at all costs, and the tyranny of overwork. But the concept has never quite stuck with my students like the other two have.
This summer, I discovered the answer to my quandary: Permission to Be was not taking off because I, much to my chagrin, was not living it; I was only teaching it! I immediately chose a new path: giving to myself the teachings I have offered to others for more than 36 years. I decided then and there to do my own MEsearch, exploring as many ways as possible to give myself Permission to Be.
I’ve made a commitment to five practices:
- Be with Mother Earth two to three hours a day.
- Let go of teaching classes during the month of August, and instead teach myself.
- Do less, Be more.
- Return to my theater roots by focusing on my character strength of Creativity.
- Create a Sabbath Inquiry and invite folks to join me.
To fulfill that last one, I’m inviting like-minded people to help me seek and live the true meaning of Sabbath. (To learn more about the group and get involved, email me at [email protected].)
I’ve also begun to teach Permission to Be in my classes. No doubt about it: the more I focus on this practice in my own life, the more others seem to be responding to it. The phrase is making headway!
For me, part of Being more is using technology less often. I think the last time I completely unplugged for a substantial amount of time was 13 years ago, when I participated in a meditation retreat at Spirit Rock. So, I plan to take a break from teaching from August 1 through Labor Day.
Slowing down like this has never been my MO, and it brings up questions like this:
Do I matter if I am not doing?
Do I have any value if I am simply Being?
Who am I when I am just a “human merely Being”?
What value do I have if I am not accomplishing something, giving something, doing something for this world?
Just Being? EEEEP! What does that mean? Will I stream Hulu for hours? Will I become a lazy slug? How many times can I watch the fabulous Sutton Foster on YouTube tapping her way through “Anything Goes”?
And yet … I think there is something waiting to be birthed which can only come through if I stop and practice Being. This still, small voice within has been prompting me for a couple of decades or more. And it took the last year to help me stop—and even then, not entirely, as I began teaching on Zoom almost immediately.
Recently, I’ve received invitations to return to in-person teaching, and instead of jumping right back into the thick of it, I am pausing and just Being as I consider what is right during this time of transition. I want this Pause to become integral to my life, a part of the tapestry of my body, mind, heart, and soul.
May you too find peace and Pause this summer! I leave you with this verse adapted from the Daily Word.
My soul responds to my restful interludes by sinking
deeply into the awareness of my oneness with Spirit.
In times of meditative stillness, I touch eternity and discern
an absolute truth beyond my daily life.
Any day and time can be a Sabbath.
I keep this time holy by bringing the awareness of
Spirit into my heart and soul.
I am grateful for my restful interludes and cherish the moments
I can bless my mind and body with wholehearted, intentional rest.
Before Megha takes a month off to just Be, join her for virtual Let Your Yoga Dance classes and for the next Let Your Yoga Dance Salon, “Building Bridges of Compassion and Belonging for a Just and Joyful World, Part 2,” July 29, 6:00–7:30 pm via Zoom, with guest Gwendolyn VanSant.
Megha Nancy Buttenheim, MA, M.A., E-RYT 1000, is CEO and founding director of Let Your Yoga Dance® LLC, and author of “Expanding Joy: Let Your Yoga Dance, Embodying Positive Psychology”. An expert in experiential education, Megha is a long-time teacher-trainer at Kripalu Center, where she has trained thousands of people in yoga, health, movement, and meditation. letyouryogadance.com